Riding and remembrance: re-emplacement in a Canadian Forces Veterans motorcycle organization

Samuels, Karen Lynn (2020) Riding and remembrance: re-emplacement in a Canadian Forces Veterans motorcycle organization. Doctoral (PhD) thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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This thesis explores the social processes of post-release dis-emplacement experienced by a community of Canadian Forces veterans who rode motorcycles together. Across a range of military experiences and careers, including dangerous overseas deployments and other international and domestic postings, veterans experience a profound sense of loss and isolation following their military release. In this thesis, I approach the military as a place. I contend that retirement from their military careers is a dis-emplacing experience for veterans, which severs them from their prior sense of military emplacement. For this group and other veterans, retirement from the military means veterans’ disconnection from familiar and empowering military lifeworlds, from a field of social relations that provide definitive narratives for self-identification, from predictable and regimented everyday activity, from a shared sense of purpose, and, from daily interaction with trusted individuals who were like family. I posit that veteran riding community members experienced grief as a result of the loss of their relationship with the military as a place. This thesis examines veterans’ release bereavement as one of three social processes that make up post-release dis-emplacement. Veterans additionally experienced as dis-emplacing the intrusion of military skills and habits into their post-release lives in civilian public and work places. Lastly, veterans experienced as dis-emplacing their struggles for improved acknowledgement and compensation–from the Government of Canada and from civilian Canadians–in exchange for risking their lives, bodies, and minds in military service to Canada. I argue that veteran riding community members learned to mitigate the wounding and sometimes harmful conditions of post-release dis-emplacement through their participation in a community of Canadian Forces veterans. As members of a community of Canadian Forces veterans, together, they rode motorcycles, raised money for other veterans and their families, and organized and took part in local remembrance events in attendance with civilians.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral (PhD))
URI: http://research.library.mun.ca/id/eprint/14679
Item ID: 14679
Additional Information: Includes bibliographical references (pages 362-380).
Keywords: Canadian Forces, remembrance, Anthropology of the military, mobilities, motorcycle, place, emplacement, veterans, grief and bereavement, phenomenology in Anthropology
Department(s): Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of > Anthropology
Date: October 2020
Date Type: Submission
Digital Object Identifier (DOI): https://doi.org/10.48336/bnc2-fv44
Library of Congress Subject Heading: Veterans--Canada--Social conditions; Motorcycles--Societies, etc.

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